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Published December 19, 2011
Temperature Outlook(January–June 2012)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
The seasonal temperature outlooks issued by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in December call for equal chances for above-, below-, or near-average conditions in Arizona and increased chances for above-average temperatures in New Mexico for the January–March period (Figure 9a). During the February–April and March–May periods, eastern Arizona and all of New Mexico have increased odds for above-average temperatures (Figures 9b–c). The highest chances are in southern New Mexico, with odds as much as 50-60 percent. For the April–June period, all of Arizona and New Mexico have elevated chances for above-average temperatures (Figure 9d). La Niña conditions, which are expected to persist through early spring, and recent warming trends influence these forecasts.
These outlooks predict the likelihood (chance) of above-average, average, and below-average temperature, but not the magnitude of such variation. The numbers on the maps do not refer to degrees of temperature.
The NOAA-CPC outlooks are a 3-category forecast. As a starting point, the 1981–2010 climate record is divided into 3 categories, each with a 33.3 percent chance of occurring (i.e., equal chances, EC). The forecast indicates the likelihood of one of the extremes—above-average (A) or below-average (B)—with a corresponding adjustment to the other extreme category; the “average” category is preserved at 33.3 likelihood, unless the forecast is very strong.
Thus, using the NOAA-CPC temperature outlook, areas with light brown shading display a 33.3–39.9 percent chance of above-average, a 33.3 percent chance of average, and a 26.7–33.3 percent chance of below-average temperature. A shade darker brown indicates a 40.0–50.0 percent chance of above-average, a 33.3 percent chance of average, and a 16.7–26.6 percent chance of below-average temperature, and so on.
Equal Chances (EC) indicates areas where no forecast skill has been demonstrated or there is no clear climate signal; areas labeled EC suggest an equal likelihood of above-average, average, and below-average conditions, as a “default option” when forecast skill is poor.
For more information on CPC forecasts, visit:
For seasonal temperature forecast downscaled to the local scale, visit:
For IRI forecasts, visit:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer